C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


They who forgive most shall be most forgiven.


When women love us they forgive everything.


A coward never forgives.


Write thy wrongs in ashes.

Sir T. Browne.

Forgive others often, yourself never.


The brave only know how to forgive.


Men are less forgiving than women.


The offender never pardons.


That curse shall be—forgiveness!


She hugged the offender and forgave the offense—sex to the last!


Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.

The Lord’s Prayer.

We pardon as long as we love.

La Rochefoucauld.

To err is human; to forgive, divine.


Pardon, not wrath, is God’s best attribute.

Bayard Taylor.

I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.


God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgetfulness.


To forgive a fault in another is more sublime than to be faultless one’s self.

George Sand.

Life, that ever needs forgiveness, has, for its first duty, to forgive.


We may forgive those who bore us, we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

La Rochefoucauld.

Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury.

E. H. Chapin.

The mind that too frequently forgives bad actions will at last forget good ones.


  • Good, to forgive;
  • Best to forget!
  • Robert Browning.

  • As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
  • Let your indulgence set me free.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.


  • Young men soon give, and soon forget affronts:
  • Old age is slow in both.
  • Addison.

    We should always forgive,—the penitent for their sake, the impenitent for our own.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend.

    Mme. Deluzy.

    To bear no malice or hatred in my heart.

    Church Catechism.

  • ’Tis easier for the generous to forgive,
  • Than for offence to ask it.
  • Thomson.

    We forgive too little, forget too much.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.


    The truly great man is as apt to forgive as his power is able to revenge.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Forgiveness is commendable, but apply not ointment to the wound of an oppressor.


    If we can still love those who have made us suffer, we love them all the more.

    Mrs. Jameson.

    As nice as we are in love, we forgive more faults in that than in friendship.

    Henry Horne.

    Only a woman will believe in a man who has once been detected in fraud and falsehood.

    Dumas, Père.

    Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury.


    It is easy enough to forgive your enemies if you have not the means to harm them.

    Heinrich Heine.

    Yes, we ought to forgive our enemies, but not until they are hanged.

    Heinrich Heine.

    He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.

    Lord Herbert.

    Women do not often have it in their power to give like men, but they forgive like Heaven.

    Mme. Necker.

    Forgiveness to the injured does belong; but they ne’er pardon, who commit the wrong.


  • The more we know, the better we forgive;
  • Whoe’er feels deeply, feels for all who live.
  • Mme. de Staël.

    It is necessary to repent for years in order to efface a fault in the eyes of men; a single tear suffices with God.


    His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong.


    There is a manner of forgiveness so divine that you are ready to embrace the offender for having called it forth.


    Receive no satisfaction for premeditated impertinence; forget it, forgive it, but keep him inexorably at a distance who offered it.


    ’Tis sweet to stammer one letter of the Eternal’s language; on earth it is called forgiveness.


    May I tell you why it seems to me a good thing for us to remember wrong that has been done us? That we may forgive it.


    God’s way of forgiving is thorough and hearty—both to forgive and to forget; and if thine be not so, thou hast no portion of His.


    An old Spanish writer says, “To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; but to return good for evil is godlike.”


    When a man but half forgives his enemy, it is like leaving a bag of rusty nails to interpose between them.


    If you bethink yourself of any crime, unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace, solicit for it straight.


    If thou wouldst find much favor and peace with God and man, be very low in thine own eyes. Forgive thyself little, and others much.


    The narrow soul knows not the godlike glory of forgiving.


    If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.


    He who has not forgiven an enemy has never yet tasted one of the most sublime enjoyments of life.


    We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.


    Great souls forgive not injuries till time has put their enemies within their power, that they may show forgiveness is their own.


    Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.


  • Thou whom avenging pow’rs obey,
  • Cancel my debt (too great to pay)
  • Before the sad accounting day.
  • Wentworth Dillon.

    God never pardons: the laws of His universe are irrevocable. God always pardons: sense of condemnation is but another word for penitence, and penitence is already new life.

    William Smith.

    A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than this, that when the injury began on his part the kindness should begin on ours.


    More bounteous run rivers when the ice that locked their flow melts into their waters. And when fine natures relent, their kindness is swelled by the thaw.


  • His great offence is dead,
  • And deeper than oblivion do we bury
  • The incensing relics of it.
  • Shakespeare.

    The world never forgives our talents, our successes, our friends, nor our pleasures. It only forgives our death. Nay, it does not always pardon that.

    Elizabeth, Queen of Roumania.

    A brave man thinks no one his superior who does him an injury: for he has it then in his power to make himself his superior to the other by forgiveness.


  • Forgive and forget!—why, the world would be lonely,
  • The garden a wilderness left to deform,
  • If the flowers but remembered the chilling winds only,
  • And the fields gave no verdure for fear of the storm.
  • Charles Swain.

  • To have the power to forgive,
  • Is empire and prerogative,
  • And ’tis in crowns a nobler gem,
  • To grant a pardon than condemn.
  • Butler.

    Hath any wronged thee? be bravely revenged; slight it, and the work is begun; forgive it, and it is finished; he is below himself that is not above an injury,


  • Let us no more contend, nor blame
  • Each other, blam’d enough elsewhere, but strive
  • In offices of love, how we may lighten
  • Each other’s burden, in our share of woe.
  • Milton.

    It is right that man should love those who have offended him. He will do so when he remembers that all men are his relations, and that it is through ignorance and involuntarily that they sin,—and then we all die so soon.

    Marcus Aurelius.

    The sun should not set upon our anger, neither should he rise upon our confidence. We should forgive freely, but forget rarely. I will not be revenged, and this I owe to my enemy; but I will remember, and this I owe to myself.


    When thou forgivest,—the man who has pierced thy heart stands to thee in the relation of the sea-worm that perforates the shell of the mussel which straightway closes the wound with a pearl.


    It is vain for you to expect, it is impudent for you to ask of God forgiveness on your own behalf, if you refuse to exercise this forgiving temper with respect to others.


    “I can forgive, but I cannot forget,” is only another way of saying “I will not forgive.” A forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note, torn in two and burned up, so that it never can be shown against the man.


    Of him that hopes to be forgiven it is indispensably required that he forgive. It is, therefore, superfluous to urge any other motive. On this great duty eternity is suspended, and to him that refuses to practise, it, the throne of mercy is inaccessible, and the Saviour of the world has been born in vain.


    Alas! if my best Friend, who laid down His life for me, were to remember all the instances in which I have neglected Him, and to plead them against me in judgment, where should I hide my guilty head in the day of recompense? I will pray, therefore, for blessings on my friends, even though they cease to be so, and upon my enemies, though they continue such.


  • The fairest action of our human life
  • Is scorning to revenge an injury;
  • For who forgives without a further strife,
  • His adversary’s heart to him doth tie:
  • And ’tis a firmer conquest, truly said,
  • To win the heart than overthrow the head.
  • Lady Elizabeth Carew.

    There is an ugly kind of forgiveness in this world,—a kind of hedgehog forgiveness, shot out like quills. Men take one who has offended, and set him down before the blowpipe of their indignation, and scorch him, and burn his fault into him; and when they have kneaded him sufficiently with their fiery fists, then they forgive him.


    The brave only know how to forgive; it is the most refined and generous pitch of virtue human nature can arrive at. Cowards have done good and kind actions,—cowards have even fought, nay, sometimes even conquered; but a coward never forgave. It is not in his nature; the power of doing it flows only from a strength and greatness of soul, conscious of its own force and security, and above the little temptations of resenting every fruitless attempt to interrupt its happiness.


    The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, “Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee.” It says at once, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

    Horatius Bonar.

    Behold affronts and indignities which the world thinks it right never to pardon, which the Son of God endures with a divine meekness! Let us cast at the feet of Jesus that false honor, that quick sense of affronts, which exaggerates everything, and pardons nothing, and, above all, that devilish determination in resenting injuries.


    How sure we are of our own forgiveness from God. How certain we are that we are made in His image, when we forgive heartily and out of hand one who has wronged us. Sentimentally we may feel, and lightly we may say, “To err is human, to forgive divine;” but we never taste the nobility and divinity of forgiving till we forgive and know the victory of forgiveness over our sense of being wronged, over mortified pride and wounded sensibilities. Here we are in living touch with Him who treats us as though nothing had happened—who turns His back upon the past, and bids us journey with Him into goodness and gladness, into newness of life.

    Maltbie Babcock.

    In what a delightful communion with God does that man live who habitually seeketh love! With the same mantle thrown over him from the cross—with the same act of amnesty, by which we hope to be saved—injuries the most provoked, and transgressions the most aggravated, are covered in eternal forgetfulness.

    E. L. Magoon.